In a radical modified mastectomy the entire breast is removed including the skin, nipple, areola, the lining over the chest muscle and the lymph nodes under the armpit. The chest muscle itself is not removed.

Can the breast be reconstructed after a modified radical mastectomy?

Yes. Most types of breast reconstruction can be performed after a modified radical mastectomy.

Is the skin incision different to a simple mastectomy?

No. The skin incision remains the same.

What are the side effects of the removal of the lymph nodes?

Numbness in the upper arm, resulting from the loss of small nerves lying next to the lymph nodes. Lymphedema is an important side effect. It is a build-up of lymph fluid in the fatty tissue just under the skin. It developes slowly over time and can range from mild to severe. The exact machanism of lympedema is still very poorly understood. The treatment in most situations is by applying pressure therapy. Newer developments target actual lymph node transfer from the groin to the armpit in severe cases.